Che Part Two

  • Directors: Steven Soderbergh
  • Producers: Laura Bickford, Benicio del Toro
  • Writers: Peter Buchman, Benjamin A van der Veen
  • Genres: Biography, Drama, War
  • Actors: Benicio del Toro, Franka Potente, Catalina Sandino Moreno

In Havana 1964, Che Guevara is interviewed by Lisa Howard who asks him if reform throughout Latin America might not blunt the “message of the Cuban Revolution”. In 1955, at a gathering in Mexico City, Guevara first meets Fidel Castro. He listens to Castro’s plans and signs on as a member of the July 26th Movement. There is a return to 1964 for Guevara’s address before the United Nations General Assembly, where he makes an impassioned speech against American imperialism, and defends the executions his regime has committed declaring that “this is a battle to the death”.

March 1957, Guevara deals with debilitating bouts of asthma as his group of revolutionaries meet up with Castro’s group. Together, they attack an army barracks on May 28, 1957. On October 15, 1958, the guerrillas approach the town of Las Villas. The Battle of Santa Clara is depicted with Guevara demonstrating his tactical skill as the guerrillas engage in street-to-street fighting. Near the film’s end they are victorious. With the Cuban Revolution now over, Guevara heads to Havana, remarking “we won the war, the revolution starts now”.

The second part begins with Guevara arriving in Bolivia disguised as a middle-aged representative of the Organization of American States hailing from Uruguay, who subsequently drives into the mountains to meet his men. The film is organized by the days that he was in the country. On Day 26, there is solidarity among Guevara’s men despite his status as foreigner. By Day 67, Guevara has been set up for betrayal. He tries to recruit some peasants only to be mistaken for a cocaine smuggler. On Day 100, there is a shortage of food and Guevara exercises discipline to resolve conflicts between his Cuban and Bolivian followers.

Guevara grows sick and by Day 280 can barely breathe as a result of his acute asthma. On Day 302 Tania Bunke, Juan Acuña Ñunez, and several others in Che’s forces are massacred by the Bolivian Army as they attempt to cross the Vado del Yeso. By Day 340, Guevara is trapped by the Bolivian army and while wounded is surrounded and captured. The next day, a helicopter lands and a Cuban-American CIA agent Félix Rodríguez emerges. Guevara says, “I don’t talk to traitors.” Rodriguez responds, “You executed my uncle”. The Bolivian high command are then phoned and give approval for Guevara’s execution. He is killed on October 9, 1967, and his corpse lashed to the landing skids of a helicopter and flown out.

21 Grams

  • Directors:
  • Producers: Robert Salerno
  • Writers: Guillermo Arriaga
  • Genres: Crime, Drama, Thriller
  • Actors: Sean Penn, Naomi Watts, Benicio del Toro, Melissa Leo, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Danny Huston

The story is told in a non-linear manner. The following is a linear, chronological summary of the plot:

Jack Jordan is a former convict who is using his new-found religious faith to recover from drug addiction and alcoholism. Paul Rivers is a mathematics professor with a fatal heart condition. Unless he receives a new heart from an organ donor, he will have less than one month to live. Paul’s wife wants him to donate his sperm so she can have his baby, even if he dies. The two are civil to one another, yet distant. Cristina Peck is also a recovering drug addict, and now lives a normal suburban life with a supportive husband and two children. She is a loving mother and active swimmer, who has left her days of drugs and booze behind. These three separate stories/characters become tied together one evening when Jack kills Cristina’s husband and children in a hit-and-run accident. Her husband’s heart is donated to Paul, who begins his recovery.

Cristina is devastated by the loss and returns to drugs (2C-B and ketamine) and alcohol. Paul is eager to begin normal life again, but he hesitantly agrees to his wife’s idea of surgery and artificial insemination as a last-ditch effort to get pregnant. During consultations with a doctor before the surgery, Paul learns that his wife had undergone an abortion after they had separated in the past. Angered, Paul ends the relationship. He becomes very inquisitive about whose heart he has. He learns from a private detective that the heart belonged to Cristina’s husband, and begins to follow the widowed Cristina around town.

Jack and Cristina rush Paul to the hospital. Jack tells the police that he shot Paul, but he is released. The conflict between Cristina and Jack remains unresolved (they meet in the waiting room after Paul’s death, but do not speak). Cristina learns in the hospital that she is pregnant. After Paul’s death, Cristina is seen tentatively preparing for the new child and Jack is shown returning home to his family.

Traffic

  • Directors: Steven Soderbergh
  • Producers: Edward Zwick, Marshall Herskovitz, Laura Bickford
  • Writers: Stephen Gaghan
  • Genres: Crime, Drama, Thriller
  • Actors: Michael Douglas, Benicio del Toro, Don Cheadle, Catherine Zeta Jones, Dennis Quaid

The film begins in Mexico, where police officer Javier Rodriguez (Benicio Del Toro) and his partner, Manolo Sanchez (Jacob Vargas), stop a drug transport and arrest the couriers. Their arrest is interrupted by General Salazar (Tomás Milián), a high-ranking Mexican official, who decides to hire Rodriguez. Salazar instructs him to locate and apprehend Francisco Flores (Clifton Collins, Jr.), a notorious hit man for the Tijuana Cartel, headed by the Obregón brothers.

Meanwhile, Robert Wakefield (Douglas), a conservative Ohio judge, is appointed to head the President’s Office of National Drug Control, taking on the title drug czar. Wakefield is warned by his predecessor and several influential politicians that the War on Drugs is unwinnable. Unbeknownst to Wakefield, his honors student daughter, Caroline (Erika Christensen) has been using cocaine, and develops a drug addiction after her boyfriend Seth (Topher Grace) introduces her to freebase cocaine. Caroline and Seth are arrested when a fellow student overdoses on drugs at a party and they unsuccessfully try to dump him anonymously at a nearby hospital. Robert finds out that his wife Barbara (Amy Irving) has known about their daughter’s involvement with drugs for over six months.

A third story is set in San Diego, where an undercover Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) investigation led by Montel Gordon (Don Cheadle) and Ray Castro (Luis Guzmán) leads to arrest of Eduardo Ruiz (Miguel Ferrer), a high-stakes dealer posing as a fisherman. Ruiz, who is hospitalized as the result of a gunshot wound from the arrest, decides to risk the dangerous road to immunity by giving up his boss: drug lord Carlos Ayala (Steven Bauer), the biggest distributor for the Obregón brothers in the United States. Ayala is indicted by a tough prosecutor, hand-selected by Wakefield in an attempt to send a message to the Mexican drug organizations.

Some aspects of the plotline are based on real-life characters and events. The character General Arturo Salazar is closely modeled after Mexican General Jesús Gutiérrez Rebollo, who was secretly on the payroll of Amado Carrillo Fuentes, head of the Juarez Cartel. The character Porfilio Madrigal is modeled after Fuentes. The Obregón brothers are similarly modeled after the Arellano Félix brothers.[1][2][3]

The Wolf Man

  • Directors: Joe Johnston
  • Producers: Scott Stuber, Rick Yorn, Mary Parent, Benicio del Toro
  • Writers: David Self, Andrew Kevin Walker
  • Genres: Horror, Thriller
  • Actors: Benicio del Toro, Anthony Hopkins, Emily Blunt, Hugo Weaving, Geraldine Chaplin

Set in the late 1880s, the film keeps the plotline of the original, with Lawrence Talbot (Benicio del Toro) meeting his father (Anthony Hopkins) following the death (and in the remake, disappearance) of his brother. The film details events during Lawrence’s past that led to his estrangement from his father (which includes Gwen), and the setting is expanded from Blackmore (which was the mythical village of Llanwelly in the original) to London.[2] The official synopsis states Talbot was traumatized by his mother’s death as a child, while Gwen Conliffe is his brother’s fiancée. Following his brother’s disappearance, Talbot hunts a murderer, which turns out to be a werewolf, and the curse is passed on.[3]

Snatch.

  • Directors: Guy Ritchie
  • Producers: Matthew Vaughn
  • Writers: Guy Ritchie
  • Genres: Comedy, Crime, Thriller
  • Actors: Jason Statham, Stephen Graham, Dennis Farina, Vinnie Jones, Brad Pitt, Alan Ford, Lennie James, Ade, Robbie Gee, Benicio del Toro, Mike Reid

The movie begins with Turkish (Jason Statham) narrating. In Antwerp a valuable 86 carat diamond is stolen. Franky “Four-Fingers” (Benicio del Toro) takes the stone to London, but one of the Russian thieves tells him he can get a gun from Boris the Blade (Rade Serbedzija). Meanwhile Turkish and Tommy, who work in the world of unlicensed boxing matches, are preparing their fighter, Gorgeous George (Adam Fogerty) for a match. Turkish sends Tommy, his cowardly, dim-witted accomplice, to go buy a new caravan. Turkish then notices Tommy has a gun bought from Boris the Blade, as they are dealing with the leader of the unlicensed boxing world, Brick Top (Alan Ford). Brick Top is a dangerous crime lord in London who kills people who displease him, and then feeds them to pigs. He’s counting on Turkish to win this fight, which means they cannot let him down.

The Russian tells Boris that he sent Franky to buy a gun, so Boris plans to steal the stone. In New York, Jewish crime boss Abraham “Cousin Avi” Denovitz (Dennis Farina) is told Franky has the stone. Avi tells Franky to visit his cousin in London, Doug the Head (Mike Reid), an expert, so that they can sell the stone for what it’s worth. Avi also warns Franky (who is a compulsive gambler) to stay away from the casinos, especially with the diamond in tow. Franky then visits Boris, who offers him a gun if he places down a bet for an unlicensed boxing match at a bookies in Boris’ name.

The next day, the Pikeys are revealed to have left their campsite. While Turkish and Tommy are at where the Pikeys originally were, the cops show up and question them. Vinny’s dog then shows up, and they claim they were taking it for a walk. The cops let them go, and they both drive by Sol and Vinny who are also being questioned as to why they have Franky and Tony’s body in their trunk. We then cut back to the beginning of the film where Turkish and Tommy are in a room with an unknown man who is revealed to be Doug the Head. They ask him if he knows anyone who’d be interested in this diamond. Doug calmly suggests “he might”, and then calls up Avi, and who promptly heads back to London.

Sin City

  • Directors: Frank Miller, Robert Rodriguez, Special Guest Director, Quentin Tarantino
  • Producers: Elizabeth Avellan, Frank Miller, Robert Rodriguez
  • Writers: Frank Miller
  • Genres: Action, Crime, Thriller
  • Actors: Bruce Willis, Mickey Rourke, Clive Owen, Jessica Alba, Benicio del Toro, Brittany Murphy, Elijah Wood, Rosario Dawson, Jaime King, Michael Clarke Duncan, Alexis Bledel, Powers Boothe, Michael Madsen, Josh Hartnett, Devon Aoki, Carla Gugino, Rutger Hauer, Marley Shelton

In a penthouse on the roof of a skyscraper overlooking Basin City, a fancy party is in progress. A woman (Marley Shelton), dressed in a red evening gown, is alone on the balcony. A man (Josh Hartnett), who is narrating, walks up behind her and offers her a cigarette. They exchange some small talk, he tells her that he sees in her eyes a “crazy calm”, of someone who is tired of running, but doesn’t want to face her problems alone. He tells her that he will save her, and take her far away. They kiss, then he shoots her. She dies in his arms. He says that he does not know who she was running from, but will “cash her check in the morning.”

In the DVD commentary, Frank Miller explains that the victim in this story (the Customer of the title) is actually committing suicide. The unnamed woman had dated a mobster, and when she tried to break it off, he said that he would kill her in the most terrible way possible. She then used her connections to hire a hitman (known as the Salesman) to provide her with a quick death.

On the docks of Sin City, aging police officer John Hartigan (Bruce Willis) is attempting to stop serial child murderer Roark Junior (Nick Stahl) from raping and killing 11-year-old Nancy Callahan (Makenzie Vega). Junior is the son of the powerful Senator Roark (Powers Boothe), who has paid off many police to cover up his son’s crimes, including Hartigan’s partner Bob (Michael Madsen). Bob tries to convince Hartigan to walk away, and appears to succeed, but Hartigan sucker-punches him, knocking him out cold. Hartigan then makes his way into a warehouse, knocking unconscious two local criminals. Junior is inside with the frightened Nancy and two armed henchmen, who are making sure that Junior and Nancy “get along” before leaving them alone. Hartigan shoots and kills the henchmen, but Junior shoots Hartigan in the shoulder, grabs Nancy and runs out to the docks. Hartigan catches up to Junior and shoots off his ear, causing him to drop Nancy. He then shoots off Junior’s hand and genitals, before being shot in the back several times by Bob, who has recovered. Bob tells Hartigan to stay down, but Hartigan knows he must buy time for backup to arrive (as Bob will kill Nancy if they are alone) so he tries to pull his reserve gun, causing Bob to shoot him several more times. As the sirens approach, Hartigan lapses into unconsciousness knowing that Nancy is safe, justifying himself with the words “An old man dies, a little girl lives; fair trade.”

An injured Becky departs from a hospital, talking on a cell phone with her mother. While riding in the elevator, she is met by the Salesman. Stunned, Becky hangs up the phone. The Salesman offers Becky a cigarette, implying that he was going to kill her, since he also offered the customer from Act 1 a cigarette, but it cuts to black before anything is done.

The Usual Suspects

  • Directors: Bryan Singer
  • Producers: Michael McDonnell, Bryan Singer
  • Writers: Christopher McQuarrie
  • Genres: Crime, Mystery, Thriller
  • Actors: Gabriel Byrne, Chazz Palminteri, Kevin Spacey, Stephen Baldwin, Kevin Pollak, Benicio del Toro, Giancarlo Esposito, Pete Postlethwaite, Dan Hedaya, Suzy Amis

On the deck of a ship in San Pedro, California, a figure identified as “Keyser” speaks with an injured man called Keaton (Gabriel Byrne). The two talk briefly, then Keyser appears to shoot Keaton before setting the ship ablaze. The next day, FBI Agent Jack Baer (Giancarlo Esposito) and U.S. Customs special agent Dave Kujan (Chazz Palminteri) arrive in San Pedro separately to investigate what happened on the boat. There appear to be only two survivors: a crippled man named Roger “Verbal” Kint (Kevin Spacey), and a hospitalized Hungarian criminal. Baer interrogates the Hungarian, who claims that Keyser SГ¶ze, a Turkish criminal mastermind with a nearly mythical reputation, was in the harbor “killing many men.” The Hungarian begins to describe SГ¶ze while a translator interprets and a police sketch artist draws a rendering of SГ¶ze’s face. Meanwhile, “Verbal” Kint has testified at length about the incident in exchange for near-total immunity. Police Sergeant Jeffrey Rabin (Dan Hedaya) comments that Verbal must have powerful protection to get such a favourable deal, and that high-ranking officials including “the governor” have made inquiries on Verbal’s behalf. After making his statement to the district attorney and while waiting to post bail on a relatively minor weapons charge, Verbal is placed in Rabin’s cluttered office where Kujan requests to hear the story again, from the beginning. Verbal’s tale starts six weeks earlier:

Verbal meantime walks away from the police station, dropping his feigned cerebral palsy, and gets into a waiting car driven by “Mr. Kobayashi”, pulling away just as Kujan comes outside, searching in vain. The final moment of the film is a repeat of Verbal’s earlier statement about SГ¶ze: “And like that… he’s gone.”